In April, 60 young Austrians met in Vienna to participate in the Youth forum Rio+20 (see Youth forum Rio+20 in Vienna (part I)). In four days we did workshops, discussed and, most important, worked out a draft of a youth declaration which was taken to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro. Two of the participants also joined the official Austrian delegation to represent Austria’s youth in the global context. They had an amazing time at the conference and were really able to make a difference. Read all about it in their blog (see below).
A second meeting in July was set up to discuss the results and experiences that the delegation brought back from Brazil, and to overwork the positions. This time we were just about 25 people left from the big group because the date was a bit unwell set, which was good because it was possible to really discuss in the whole group. We again had workshops and this time my group worked much harder on the statements. In addition, we had a guest from the Bundesjugendvertretung (Austrian National Youth Council; www.jugendvertretung.at) who explained how we could become politically active in their network and how important it is to have young people involved in politics.
The outcome of the four-day event is a five-sided document that includes concrete demands concerning the topics youth participation, biodiversity, green economy as well as climate and mobility. Those requests shall not only be noticed by Austria’s politics but also implemented.
In the end and after a (this time shorter) night and an interesting discussion-morning, we had five pages of declaration ready to give to our politicians. And on Monday we did just that. We gave the declaration to three representatives of Austria’s main parties and had a short discussion with them. Sadly, it was quite obvious that it wouldn’t be easy to have our demands realized. But the politicians were impressed by our engagement and assured to bring the declaration in with their parties.
It took until October until the two delegates were able to give the declaration to our minister for environment, Niki Berlakovich as well. Let’s see what he is going to do with it.
The Youth forum Rio+20 was organized by the Jugendumweltplattform (Youth Environment Platform) JUMP (www.jugendumweltplattform.at).
The Austrian Youth-Declaration Rio+20 of the 8th July 2012 can be downloaded.
YEPs involved: Mario Löscher, Sophia Paul
Date: 6th to 9th July 2012
Location: Vienna, Austria
Pictures by: Julius Holländer / JUMP
Links: JUMP-Homepage Rio+20: http://www.jugendumweltplattform.at/site/projekte/rio20
the delegates’ blog (German): http://jugendforumrioplus20.wordpress.com/
Video about both meetings (German with English subtitles): http://youtu.be/L6tjKn4sxcw